Scrambler 400cc 2 stroke or 500cc 4 stroke - Polaris ATV Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Scrambler 400cc 2 stroke or 500cc 4 stroke

Yes, I'm a newbe. Haven't owned an atv in a long time and I am looking to get back into it. Went 4 wheeling a few weeks ago with a friend that has two newer Polaris 500ho Sportsmans. Great machines and they seem to go through anything. Almost bought a 2 wheel drive sport quad for the trip. glad I didn't because is wouldn't have made it through some of the stuff we were riding. The scrambler seems like a good 4x4 sport quad. I don't know much about them. I see Polaris made a 400cc 2 stroke and a 500ccHO 4 stroke. I'm looking for some good feed back on the differences between these two machines. Reliability, power, performance, speed.... Any feed back would be great! Thanks.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 01:50 PM
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Welcome to the board!

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 03:16 PM
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Im a two stroke guy, so I vote for the 2stroke! But people either love them or hate them. I have rode both the 400 scrambler and 500 scrambler, BUT were you are going to ride will be most important. So lets talk...

First, you need to find out if the areas you plan to ride will allow 2-strokes. Sad as it is, many areas are starting to outlaw 2-stroke anythings because of the smoke and noise they make. If this is going to be a problem, go 4-stroke, if not, then its of no concern.

400 Scrambler-

Im not sure how familiar you are with any of this, so I will start from the basics. 2-strokes are generally lighter (engine wise) then 4strokes. Maintenance tends to easier and cheaper on a 2-stroke, but needed more often. You will need to rebuild the top end of a 2stroke a lot more then a 4stroke. (Most of the time). But, there are no valves to adjust, there is no oil changes (gearcase and diffs, yes, but engine case, no). 2strokes are simply, and easy to work on. You will have to front the cost of 2stroke oil which can be expensive to buy, but, a big jug (like 1 gallon) will last you a very long time. It is going to smoke, it is going to be noisy, but thats a typical 2stroke. Acceleration on a 2stroke is awesome! I would be comfortable to say the 400 scrambler will out accelerate the 500 scrambler. Top speed will be close to a draw on stock machines. Two strokes tend to not have any bottom end power, they do not liked to be lugged. The joke is, they are either no throttle or wide open throttle, thats the only two things they know. It is a half truth though. They get up and go well. If you are going to be riding in open areas, sand dunes, flats, deserts, or open trails, a 2stroke is a good machine. Tight, technical riding, you might be better off on the 4stoke, it will be more forgiving and easier to handle (this is where the 4strokes ability to have more useable bottom end power comes in). Not to say you cant ride technical on a 2stroke, you certainly can! It just takes much more patience and skill.

Reliablilty-Good if you do proper maintenance. It will need more engine work then a 4stroke in its lifetime, but its easier and cheaper to do then any 4stroke. That that kinda washes each other out in my book.

Power- Great, in my book, plenty

Acceleration- Again, great, probably will accelerate to top speed a little faster then the 500 scrambler

Speed- Stock for stock, going to be about a wash. Plenty of top speed for most types of trail riding. Aftermarket parts can bump this up.

500 Scrambler-

Now you are looking at things like valve adjustments and oil changes, neither are a huge deal though. Acceleration is still good, it will be much quietier and wont(read: shouldn't) smoke out the exhaust. Aftermarket parts are probably easier to come by for the 500 since there are much more 500 scramblers then their 400 sized brother. The big advantage is much more useable low end power. Tight technical terrain will be a favorite of the 500 scrambler.

Reliablilty- Again, good, if proper maintenance is done

Power- Good, will probably want more after you ride it (who doesnt want more?) And this is a machine with aftermarket parts to follow

Performance- Good, just like its 400 sized brother, it is a straight rear axle, so the suspension will not be a smooth as and IRS machine.

Speed-Good, probably a hair slower and acceleration compared to the 400.

The Scrambler is a good machine that hasnt changed in quite a while. It is easy to work on. I would take either one. They are pretty close. Most people perfer 4strokes, so the 400 kind of faded out of style to make room for the 500. I still enjoy a 2stroke quad. They are simple, with brutal power. Just fun! The 500 scrambler is more gentle, but still can be a monster. Both are a step below a predator or outlaw as far as a true sport quad goes, but thats not the design intention.

As you noted, its 4x4. Its a little more heavy, not quite the suspension travel numbers, not quite as brutal acceleration as the sport qauds, (because of the CVT tranny). But it is a very nice blend between utility quad and sportquad. I know it sounds cliche, but its something a newbie can enjoy all the way up to a seasoned rider. Its a good machine all around. Either of them.

I hope I gave you enough info to make the choice yourself.

Last edited by blueline15; 11-10-2010 at 03:18 PM.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 12:49 PM
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As for the 400 not having good low end power for technical riding, I think they have great low end power. I ride with my kids on mine, putting around in the woods, and it does great whether it is lugging up hills, or jetting out of a corner. It may not have the low end of the 500, but it is not lacking. Since the cvt is always in the right "gear", the power is not narrow like on a machine with gears. Then there is the power hit in the mid range, that where it gets fun, and where the 4 stroke can't compare in stock form. The 400 just hits hard.

My last few quads have been 4 strokes, but I am enjoying having a 2 stroke again. Then there is the 2 stroke sound, I for one love the sound.

I would try to take a ride on both before deciding. I was looking for a 4 stroke , but since it was close by I tried out a '99 400 Sport. That was all I needed to change my mind about getting another 4 stroke.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by marc2000gt View Post
It may not have the low end of the 500, but it is not lacking.
yes, sorry if i wasnt clear. Its not lacking at all, its just not quite the same.

All in all, i would go for the 400 scrambler time after time. Great fun, and like you said, the sound, ooohhhh man, the sound and smell of a 2stroke
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 06:15 AM
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the 2 stroke will have more power, the 4 stroke is nice if you want to take a Sunday cruise. I raced 4 stroke offroad bikes for years so I know and like the power curve of a 4 stroke. But man when you hit the throttle on a 2 stroke there is no comparison. Why do you think it takes a 450cc 4 stroke to beat and race against a 250cc 2 stroke? All things being equal a 2 stroke will have almost 2 times the power of a same CC 4 stroke.

But if your going to use it to cruise around your property, take your kids/grandkids for a ride then go with the 4 stroke, easier to manage wider power band. You'll know exactly what we are all talking about if you have the chance to ride both.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-16-2010, 03:52 PM
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just remember that the horsepower numbers for the stock 400 2 stroke and the 500 ho carb'd are about the same.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-17-2010, 11:58 PM
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The peak hp may be about the same, but how they get there is different.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 06:05 AM
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plus the power potential from the 2 stroke is much higher. I used to race a YZ490 (2 stroke) for those who have never riden a 400 to 500 cc 2 stroke let me fill you in. They make so much power it is just scary. If you uncorked the Polaris 2 stroke you could easily double those power ratings. Just look at their 250cc 2 stroke, they put too small of a carb on it which limited it to 22 HP. Take that same motor (no mods) and put a larger bore carb (they called it the cyclone) and it made 30 HP. Add a pipe and open up the air box you could easily make 40 HP with the 250cc.

One thing that really makes the two stroke work nice, and I cannot believe I am gonna say this, It's Polaris's use of their CV clutch system. It keeps the 2 stroke in the correct power band at all times.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 04:31 AM
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i have a 400 scrambler and my best friend rides a predator 500 he cant get away from me in the woods so much for techincal or low end and mine top ends around 72 mph on stock setup buy the 2 stroke a pipe and let the clutch do the rest and hold on
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